I’ve co-signed a new report from the British Infrastructure Group of MPs (BIG) revealing that, despite £1.7bn of taxpayers’ cash being pumped into subsidising the construction of UK high-speed broadband, there are still a staggering 5.7million people across Britain who cannot access the internet at the Ofcom required 10 Megabits per second.
In 2016 people rightly expect access to high-speed internet connections. Whether at home or work, fast broadband should be a reality in all our communities. Sadly, this is not yet the case. I know that in Amber Valley many people are dealing with some really poor connections and gaps in services.
The ‘BroadBad’ report calls on the regulator Ofcom to take radical action over the ‘natural monopoly’ too long enjoyed by BT Openreach. The comprehensive report (available below), details connection speeds in every part of the country and argues that as our modern economy is so reliant on the internet, it is time to stop being held back by BT’s lack of ambition and underinvestment.
I believe Britain should be leading the world in digital innovation. Yet instead Britain suffers from having a BT run monopoly clinging to outdated copper technology with no proper long-term plan for the future. We needs to start converting to a fully fibre network so we are not left behind the other nations who are rushing to embrace digital advances.
However, we will only achieve this by taking action to open up the sector. Given all the delays and missed deadlines, I believe that only a formal separation of BT from Openreach, combined with fresh competition and a concerted ambition to deliver, will now create the broadband service that constituents and businesses so rightly demand and need.